Suthers earns Hall of Fame reward
WHEN Keith Suthers Junior is inducted into the Baseball Queensland Hall of Fame on Saturday night, he'll be in the best of company.
Along with a number of former Ipswich Musketeers teammates, he'll join his dad Keith Suthers (Snr) on the prestigious list of achievers.
Although he didn't reach international heights, Keith Jnr deserves his place alongside some of Australia's best baseball players and officials.
"I'm humbled really. It's quite an honour,'' the Eastern Heights stalwart said, having devoted more than four decades to his sport.
Suthers, 53, rates sharing in Queensland's first Claxton Shield success in Sydney in 1982 as among his favourite moments.
However, the first baseman will always treasure being part of Ipswich Musketeers most successful era.
After starting at the club aged 10, Suthers went on to help Musketeers win four consecutive A-grade premierships between the 1986 and 1990 summer seasons.
His first A-grade win was most satisfying, ending the club's 19 year premiership drought.
"We'd always been a good side, been in the finals and just getting beaten at the last hurdle,'' Suthers said. "To finally crack it, that was pretty special.''
After winning four titles in a row, all but three of the Musketeers players went on to play in the national league for Brisbane or Gold Coast the following year.
The Queensland junior representative made his A-grade debut as a pitcher in 1977 before becoming catcher.
He later switched to first base, playing for Queensland.
His last A-grade game was in 2002, after being a player/coach for a few seasons.
In between, he made the Queensland squad in 1979/80, going on to play more than 30 games for his state from 1981-83 and during the 1985/86 seasons.
In those days, the Claxton Shield was played over a fortnight unlike the current national league series over several months.
For the past nine years, Keith Junior has focused on coaching, including work in the state program.
Suthers shared in two Queensland under-18 national title successes as head coach or assistant.
The Ipswich under-16 team he guided this season was undefeated until losing its grand final to Toowoomba.
Keith Junior's dad was a member of Ipswich Musketeers' first team in 1954. He was a fine starting pitcher and administrator, loyal club man and proud family supporter of the game in Ipswich.
It's from that foundation that Keith Junior answers proudly when asked why the Suthers family is synonymous with Ipswich baseball.
"It's my club,'' he said, having also shared many fine moments with younger brothers Greg and David.
"We started playing when we were kids.
"Dad was always involved as a player and then as an administrator. We just got stuck in.
"I would have liked to have maybe played in the national league but it just wasn't possible.
"But I had a pretty good run.''
Keith's son Jake is continuing the tradition playing in the under-18 competition.
Keith Suthers Junior is being inducted into the Baseball Queensland Hall of Fame. He'll be joined on Saturday night at the Irish Club by Gold Coast-based Major League player Trent Durrington and Windsor umpire Keith Knight.
Other previous Ipswich players or officials to receive the prestigious honour include Keith Suthers Senior, Peter Vogler, Paul Coogan, Steve Hinton, Peter Wood, Kim Jessop, Gerry Kelly and Nev Brockie. Umpire Harry Stathis was also inducted.
The function is held in conjunction with Greater Brisbane League awards night where the David Nilsson Medal will be awarded to the top player.